Cigna and Express Scripts announced their 54 billion dollar merger in March of 2018. Cigna provides coverage to 95 million beneficiaries around the world and Express Scripts helps fill 1.4 billion prescriptions annually. The goal of this merger is to create both affordable and personalized healthcare for consumers.
On December 18, 2018, Cigna and Express Scripts received approval from New Jersey, the final state needed to move forward. The deal closed two days later on December 20, 2018. Cigna plans to start offering new products to its customers including access to Express Scripts pharmacy in the upcoming year.
Cigna’s CEO, David Cordani, believes the deal with Cigna and Express Scripts will allow Cigna to offer additional benefits to customers while monitoring their prescription usage and medical costs. Cordani said in a statement that the addition of Express Scripts provides a “more integrated approach that addresses the whole person.” While doing this, Cigna strives to improve affordability and increase drug price transparency.
Express Scripts is a pharmacy benefit manager (PBM). A PBM acts as a middleman between pharmaceutical companies and consumers. They negotiate drug pricing from the pharmaceutical companies for pharmacies. Their role can also include operating mail orders, ensuring patient compliance, managing distribution, negotiating rebates, processing claims, and managing formularies.
PBMs are one of the largest proponents of lowering drug costs. PBMs started as a benefits card and mail-order pharmacy in the 1970s and are responsible for the shift in demand from brand-name drugs to generics.
Express Scripts is the country’s largest PBM. Alongside OptumRx and CVS, they control 72% of the U.S. market. OptumRx is a part of United Healthcare and CVS purchased Aetna on November 28, 2018. Express Scripts was the final, stand-alone PBM at this size.
This deal was formed amid the CVS and Aetna deal which was finalized in November 2018. Insurance companies have started looking for alternative ways to adapt to the ever-changing health care industry. We expect to see many more deals like this over the next few years. Walgreens and Humana are already rumored to be in talks about merging.
The Cigna and Express Scripts deal will impact agents and beneficiaries alike. This is a great example of how the healthcare industry and Medicare can evolve. At Senior Market Advisors, we make sure our agents are prepared for any evolution or change that may come your way. We offer a lead management system, online sales training, an experienced in-house marketing team, top-tier commissions, and so much more! Ready to contract? Visit agentcontract.com to start digitally contracting, or click here to get in touch with one of our agent advisors.